Sima Waghela is a Brisbane based model and milliner with an inspiring drive for charity. Waghela began modelling at the age of 34 – when most models retire. Her main motive was to model for charity and fundraising events. However, once her work began to be recognised, Waghela was approached for high-end fashion events and designer photo shoots.

Waghela recalls that her first two fashion show were the most important in influencing her perception of the fashion industry. Modelling her traditional Fijian dress at the  Multicultural Fashion Parade for senior citizens at the Sinnamon Park Retirement Home, Waghela noticed the impact the event had on the audience. The second show was the Multicultural Fashion Show for the Friends with Dignity High Tea fundraising event.

Having grown up in a domestic violence affected household and community, Waghela hoped that she would heal from distance and time. However, at the Friends with Dignity event, she was shaken by the statistics of domestic violence related deaths. “That was the moment I decided to become an advocate for domestic violence awareness. I started designing and selling headwear in my spare time to help the victims of domestic violence as much as I could.” Waghela developed the business Fancynators and the initiative Crown for Charity. All proceeds earned by the business are donated to charity.

This year has seen Waghela’s work greatly recognised and awarded. Waghela’s modelling and designing work and community service were recognised by the Universal Pageantry system and she was appointed Mrs Asia Pacific for 2019. She was also appointed the Domestic and Family Violence Network Champion by the Queensland Government for the Coopers  Plains site. Waghela became the Brisbane Natural Born Raw Artist, showcasing on many occasions at the Raw Runway events. The Queensland Community Service Achievement awards recognised her charity work and Waghela was awarded the position of semi-finalist for the Australia Pacific LNG Community Hero Award.

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